History of the Northern Rangers Football Club
The beginning of the road
Northern Rangers formed in 1996 when a group of players playing our amateur 6 a side competition based in Riverside decided to combine their teams to form one 11 aside team and enter into the NTJSA under the banner of the Northern Tasmanian Christian Soccer League Rangers (NTCSL Rangers). For many of us this was our first dig at the world game in a 11 a side format and all under 16. Around 18 players formed the first Northern Rangers side ever, two are still playing here today Luke Connors, and Brendan Lichtendonk. Our then club president and co founder David Hughes would still be here today I'm sure if he had not moved to the USA to further his career. The first taste of the real game was the taste of success with NRFC going threw the 96 season undefeated and not one goal conceded to win the under 16 premiership in our debut season and this was against strong opposition including Launceston City, Launceston, Northern Eagles, George Town, Riverside Olympic and a number of school sides as well.
The following years saw the rapid expansion of the club with two teams entered in 1997, and Rangers taking back to back Premierships. 1998 was the clubs most successful year as far as silverware goes with NRFC finishing one and two on the table and Rangers White taking the elusive Macdonalds cup. It should be noted that 1998 produced one player who would become a house hold name at the NTCA in the future, Derek Schipper.
Enter the Northern Premier League
1999 and most players were now too old to play in the junior competitions so it was decided to attempt to gain a position in the Northern Premier League. This was met with stiff opposition from some clubs around the region. In the end commonsense prevailed and Northern Rangers made their debut in the northern senior competition in 1999. With a list of around 25 players at an average age of 19 and very little senior experience NRFC was bracing for a tough year, and it was! Spankings were handed out by Devonport, Launceston, Burnie and Riverside . A noticeable low point 14-2 against Launceston. But the news wasn't all bad Rangers finished with 2 wins and 2 draws in the seniors, 4 wins and 1 draw in the reserves, a solid performance on debut. The club was experiencing success at 1 level, the under 17's taking the premiership under the guidance of coach Mark Ackerly.
Onwards and upwards
2000 saw Mark Ackerly take on the senior coaching role and with some key recruits in Damire Metric and his younger brother Goran both from Bosnia , Adam Whitemore, Tony Ludby and Seb Deak from George Town, the side was strengthened and more consistency was experienced. The club also was able to reach the final in the statewide vase competition. A noticeable improvement which provided much encouragement to the young squad.
Northern Premier Reserve Grade championship
2007 brought the club's first piece of Senior silver ware when the Reserves took out the Northern Premier Reserve Grade Championship. A massive achievement for such a young club, and the building block to chase the clubs first top flight title in Tasmania. 2007 also saw Rangers enter a Women's side into the Northern Women's Premier League. A large group of women joined the club under Coach John Crooks. This brought one of the clubs founding members back to service, in Ian Loft as Crooks' assistant.
2008 saw Northern Rangers finish in their best position to date in the Northern Premier League, completing the year as Runners Up to Devonport City. Mitchell Billing completed his third year in the top job at the club and stepped aside to make way for Roslan Sa'ad to take over in 2009. 2008 also saw a club first, and quiet possibly a state first, as the Senior Men's Best and Fairest finished in a three way tie, between Derek Schipper, Mark Ambrose and TT Kakadumane.
First Northern Premier League title
2009 and Roslan Sa'ad teamed up with Carlo Ercole to take control of the clubs men's teams. Large player numbers added depth to the club and the club won its first ever Round 1 match in 11 seasons by defeating Burnie United 4-0. It was to set the scene for a massive year for Northern Rangers, defeating Devonport Strikers in the last game of the year to win the clubs first Northern Premier League title. This was a massive effort, considering it only started 11 years ago. Three players who played in the clubs first league match, competed in the clubs premiership winning team, Derek Schipper, Luke Connors and Brad Langerak.
Moving on to another championship
2010 and Adam Whitemore teamed up with Tony Ludby and continued the strong success that Roslan Sa’ad had built. The partnership of Whitemore and Ludby brought fresh ideas, but had the challenge of dealing with a mass exodus of players from the club, names like Luke Connors and Brad Langerak hung up the boots, and championship players including TT Kakadumane, Chris Gaskin, Sam Nugteren, Mark Ambrose and Rhys Prestige, found their time in Launceston had come to an end and moved on. Whitemore and Ludby backed up the 2009 success by developing some new talent in Stefan Jago, Issa Dumbuya, Luke Tuma, Gabriel Tams, Declan Cuschieri and Patty Lanau-Atkinson and introducing them to Senior football, in the end the championship for 2010 was secured at Cardigan Street against Somerset, with a week to spare, and the club advanced past Clarence United and Burnie United with 1-0 wins to progress to the clubs first ever State Championship final, eventually succumbing to South Hobart 1-0. On a desperately sad note, the club lost a loyal servant too young, Jeff McHugh passing away during the season of 2010, survived by his son Joel and daughter Alana.
2011 and the club finished equal on 40 points with Prospect Knights at the top of the table, but the title went to Prospect on goal difference.
2012 saw Adam Whitemore and Tony Ludby step down as the coaching duo of the club, and with little options as to coaches in the area, the club went with a leadership group to guide the Northern Premier League for the upcoming season. The decision had its doubters, but the group consisting of Todd Hingston, Gabriel Tams, Marshall Pooley and Brendan Lichtendonk and headed up by Peter McBeath brought unprecedented success to the club, winning both the Northern Premier League and Northern Premier League Reserve titles on the final round of the year, defeating Somerset in both grades to deliver success. The men went on to the final with South Hobart in the State Final Series, narrowly falling short 2-1.
The Victory League is here!
2013 was the biggest in the club's history, Football Federation Tasmania introduced a State League for the first time since 1999, and this would ultimately be a part of the National Premier League structure, designed to underpin the A-League. Northern Rangers were granted a 3-year licence and the club moved quickly to secure some big names to ensure it would be competitive in a cut-throat competition, contracting Peter Savill as Head Coach and signing the club's first ever import, UK and Coventry-based striker, Shane Brassington. Centre Back Ryan McCarragher was recruited from Riverside Olympic along with Nick Lanau-Atkinson and Aiden Rigby moved over from Launceston United. Northern Rangers were competitive, but struggled to turn close games into wins, finishing fifth with 7 wins, 6 draws and 8 losses, Shane Brassington top scored for the club and finished runner up in the League Golden Boot. The Premier League side struggled in the first year of State League, finishing fifth also, missing the finals in the last game of the year.